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Confirmed Coronavirus Cases in U.S. Surpass 8 Million

Nine states reported a record tally of new coronavirus cases, as the total number of infections detected in the U.S. since the pandemic began ticked above 8 million.

The U.S. recorded more than 63,000 infections for Thursday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, the first time in more than two months that the daily tally has crossed 60,000.

Midwestern states were particularly hard hit, with Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana all reporting their highest single-day totals since the pandemic began, according to Johns Hopkins. States in other parts of the country, including North Carolina and Colorado, also reported record daily caseloads.

The country averaged more than 53,000 new cases of the coronavirus over the past week, compared with 50,000 over the past 14 days. A rising trend indicates that infections are spreading more rapidly through the population.

All told, 373,836 cases were reported in the U.S. this week through Thursday, up from 328,082 cases a week earlier.

As cases rise, deaths have held fairly steady. On average, the country continues to record just over 700 deaths a day from Covid-19, though for the past three days, the daily death toll has jumped above 800. Deaths often lag new cases, given the duration of the disease.

Data from the Covid Tracking Project showed that 6.28 percent of the more than 1 million tests reported Thursday were positive, the highest rate since Sept. 22.

Epidemiologists and public-health researchers said a number of factors are likely playing a role in the rising case numbers, including the lifting of restrictions and compliance fatigue.

Ohio: Gov. Mike DeWine said Thursday the state hit a record number of new cases, 2,178, adding that nearly a month ago, on Sept. 20, the state had 762 new cases. “There is a red tide flowing all over the state of Ohio, and virtually everyone in Ohio is living in a high-incidence, high-rate-of-spread area,” he said.

Wisconsin: Gov. Tony Evers asked Wisconsin residents to put “science and public health before politics,” as cases climbed above 3,700 on Thursday. Before Sept. 9, new cases in Wisconsin rarely exceeded 1,000 on a single day. Secretary-Designee Andrea Palm of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services said that in some parts of the state, intensive care units are more than 90% filled. “Those numbers, while stark, do not factor in staffing shortages which we are seeing in every region of the state,” Ms. Palm said. She added that the average daily case numbers had quadrupled in six weeks, and those cases could result in more hospitalizations.

North Carolina: The state reported more than 2,500 new cases, a single-day record. Hospitalizations have topped 1,000 for 10 consecutive days, levels last seen in late August. Gov. Roy Cooper said the state’s numbers aren’t where they need to be. “We’ve all made big sacrifices this year, but we can’t let our guard down now,” he wrote on Twitter.

Hospitalizations: Hospitalizations have been rising in every region across the U.S., data from the Covid Tracking Project show. Nationwide, U.S. hospitalizations were at the highest level since Aug. 27 as of Thursday, reaching 37,308, according to the group. Though elevated compared with recent weeks, the level is lower than July’s peaks of more than 59,000.

Fatalities: Coronavirus fatalities haven’t yet surged in the same way that new cases and hospitalizations have. Deaths often lag behind new cases and hospitalizations, given the duration of the disease. The U.S. death toll approached 218,000 on Friday.

Vaccines: Pfizer Inc. said Friday that results from a study of its Covid-19 vaccine could be available by the end of October, raising the possibility that the first doses could be distributed to patients before the end of the year. If early results show the vaccine is safe, Pfizer could seek regulatory approval to begin administering shots of the drug by late November, the company said.

France: New cases rose by 30,621 on Thursday, a record daily high. The sharp increase comes shortly before a 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew takes effect in Paris and several other cities to curb the virus’s spread. Hospitalizations and fatalities also rose.

Spain: The country recorded more than 13,000 new infections as the region of Catalonia prepared to follow Madrid in adopting fresh restrictions, which will involve closing bars and restaurants for 15 days.

U.K.: Britain’s government added densely populated Lancashire to its list of areas under its highest-level restrictions Friday. The order bans people from visiting other households and forces the closure of pubs, among other measures. The lockdown means that the towns of Blackburn, Blackpool and Preston will come under the same restrictions applied in nearly Liverpool.

Russia: Russia reported another record of new cases on Friday, recording 15,150 new infections as the virus continues to spread. More than 5,000 new cases were recorded in the capital, Moscow.

India: The country reported 63,371 new cases, taking the total to more than 7.37 million, according to the health ministry. India’s death toll rose by 895 to 112,161.

China: Health authorities Friday reported zero locally transmitted cases for the previous day. Qingdao, which has reported 13 local cases since last weekend linked to a local hospital, had tested more than 10 million residents as of Friday, according to a government notice.

A senior provincial health official said the latest infections were linked to a CT scanning room that had been used by two port workers who had earlier tested positive but were deemed to be asymptomatic. The official said the room wasn’t disinfected properly.

South Korea: For the first time since Sept. 29, South Korea reported fewer than 50 new infections, adding 47 cases and bringing the total to 25,035. On Monday, the country relaxed its social-distancing measures to the lowest of three tiers, allowing karaoke bars and buffet restaurants to reopen.

Japan: New cases rose by 707, the largest daily increase since Sept. 10. Japan’s daily infection levels have been locked in the triple digits for nearly two months as the country has been gradually reactivating the economy. “The equilibrium could be destabilized at any moment,” said Shigeru Omi, the head of the government subcommittee on Covid-19 measures.

|The Wall Street Journal

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